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Getting Started With Voice Of The Customer Analysis For CX and Product

Getting Started With Voice Of The Customer Analysis For CX and Product
Ash Bhoopathy

Introduction

VoC is shorthand for the wide array of things a company can do to actively listen to its customers.

This obviously includes asking them questions, either formally (focus group, outreach survey) or informally (on-site polls, feedback forms) and listening to the answers.

But it also includes listening to what they say elsewhere (social media, review sites) and observing their online behaviors and "digital body language" as well as their words.

And of course our old friends NPS, CES, and CSAT are key indicators of how well a company is grokking its VoC as well.

In this post , we'll explore all of the above and share tips on how to get started with VoC analysis for customer experience (CX) and product improvement.

Why Voice of Customer Analysis?

If you're not doing VoC analysis at all, you're likely missing out on some essential feedback from your customers.

In fact, a recent study by Forrester found that "of the 270 companies surveyed, 71% said they were either 'somewhat' or 'very' effective at incorporating customer feedback into their products."

That's a pretty impressive percentage.

And it's only going to continue to grow as customers become more vocal (and demanding) about the quality of their experiences.

The reason VoC is near and dear to my heart is simple.

It’s a metaphor that keeps us focused on what matters most.

Finding ways for people and businesses to make sense of the cacophony of modern life.

Understanding each other better. And predicting one another’s needs and provide something of value.

VoC data provide companies with both a 35k-foot strategic overview and key insights.

Plus it helps make sense of the nuance of thousands of individual data points: the actual voices of actual customers.

Helpful VoC Methodologies

When it comes to understanding customer feedback, there are a few key methodologies that are particularly helpful:

1. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is one of the most commonly used customer satisfaction metrics, and for good reason.

It's simple to calculate (just subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters) and provides a quick snapshot of customer sentiment.

2. Customer Effort Score (CES)

CES measures how much effort customers have to expend to get what they want from a company.

It's another simple metric to calculate, and can be a valuable indicator of customer satisfaction (or dissatisfaction).

For more on CES, check out our in-depth post here.

3. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT is one of the oldest and most widely used customer satisfaction metrics.

It's simple to calculate (just ask customers how satisfied they are with a given interaction), and provides a quick snapshot of customer sentiment.

4. Behavioral Analytics

Behavioral analytics is a newer field, but it's quickly becoming an essential part of VoC analysis.

By tracking customer behavior (what they click on, what they share, etc.), companies can get a better understanding of what customers are interested in and how they're interacting with their brand.

5. "Digital Body Language"

As I mentioned earlier, companies need to be aware of their customers' online behavior as well as their words.

By tracking things like social media shares, engagement rates, and even the types of words customers are using, companies can get a better understanding of what customers are interested in and how they feel about the company.

Your VoC Strategy

It’s no good just piping a raw feed of VoC into your enterprise PA system and hoping for the best.

You have to make sure it’s understood and acted on.

Which makes VoC one of those wicked problems: not only doesn’t it scale, it scales inversely.

So how can you come up with a strategy that gives you an advantage?

1. Align your VoC strategy with your business core competency

The first step is to make sure that your VoC strategy is aligned with what you do best.

And where the enterprise value of your company lies.

What are your company's goals? What areas do you want to focus on improving? Make sure your VoC strategy is focused on those same areas.

2. Collect customer feedback in multiple channels

To get a complete picture of customer sentiment, you need to collect feedback from customers in multiple channels.

This includes things like surveys, social media, customer support tickets, etc.

3. Analyze the data and take action

Once you've collected all of this data, it's important to analyze it and take action.

This means translating customer feedback into actionable insights and making changes based on that feedback.

Taking action is often the hard part.

The people who need to do it often don't see directly how VoC impacts their day-to-day.

So invest in working together well and educating all teams on the "why."

4. Track the results

Finally, it's important to track the results of your VoC strategy.

Are customers happier? Are you seeing an improvement in key metrics? Make sure you're tracking the data so you can see how well your strategy is working.

As I mentioned earlier, companies need to be aware of their customers' online behavior as well as their words.

By tracking things like social media shares, engagement rates, and even the types of words customers are using, companies can get a better understanding of what customers are interested in and how they feel about the company.

The more successful your company, the bigger and more broadly it grows… the less contact its employees have with customers, the less the company intuits them, and the less management knows what to do.

Plus, with so many virtual and offshore platforms for product development and delivery, even small companies are selling more on-line and to new or niche markets, to people they will never meet face-to-face but still need to deeply understand.

And meanwhile standards of customer service excellence continue to rise in either a vicious or virtuous cycle, depending on your point of view.

The takeaway is that if you want to be successful, you need to have a VoC strategy in place.

And the best way to come up with a VoC strategy is to align it with your business core competency, collect customer feedback in multiple channels, analyze the data and take action, and track the results.

3 Tried-and-True VoC Best Practices

So how do you make sure that your company is getting the most out of its VoC data?

Here are three tried-and-true best practices.

These are too good not to do.

1. Use customer feedback to drive product development

One of the most important ways to use VoC data is to use it to drive product development.

A quick example is if you see that customers are unhappy with the speed of your website, you can use that feedback to make changes to the website.

Did you know?

85 percent of businesses believe that customer feedback has a direct impact on their product development.

Use customer feedback to influence the products and features you build.

As a customer, wouldn't you want that?

2. Use customer feedback to improve customer support

Another important way to use VoC data is to use it to improve customer support.

Think about it. If you can see that a lot of customers are having the same issue, you can use that information to improve your customer support process.

This might mean adding more resources to customer support or creating documentation that helps customers solve common issues.

And it's not just about frequency of customer feedback.

It's also about the tone of customer feedback.

Are customers generally happy with your customer support?

If not, you need to take a look at why and make changes.

3. Use customer feedback to improve marketing efforts

Finally, you can also use VoC data to improve your marketing efforts.

This might be my favorite one.

If you can see that a lot of customers are responding positively to a certain marketing campaign, you can use that information to create more campaigns like it.

On the other hand, if you see that a lot of customers are responding negatively to a certain marketing campaign, you can stop running the campaign.

The impact to the marketing team's performance can be huge.

Especially when advertising budgets are as big as they are today.

Good VoC Resources To Look Into

Here are three good VoC books to read if you're interested in learning more about the topic.

  1. "Managing Customer Experience and Relationships: A Strategic Framework" by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers
  2. "The Voice of the Customer for Product Development, 4th Edition" by José Campos and Jean-Claude Balland
  3. "Brand Flip, The: Why customers now run companies and how to profit from it" by Marty Neumeier

All three books are a great read if you want to learn more about VoC data and how to use it to improve your business.

How To Run A Foolproof VoC Survey

Now that you know a little more about VoC data, let's talk about how to run a VoC survey.

You can use literally any tool you want.

But some will help you incorporate the tools better than others:

1. Keep it short and simple

The best way to get feedback from customers is to keep your survey short and simple.

This will help ensure that customers take the time to complete the survey.

2. Ask specific questions

When you're creating your survey, make sure to ask specific questions.

This will help you get the most out of the data you collect.

3. Make it easy to respond

Another important thing to keep in mind when creating your survey is to make it easy to respond.

This means providing a way for customers to offer feedback on each question.

4. Use a variety of response formats

When you're asking questions in your survey, use a variety of response formats.

This will help you get the most out of the data you collect.

5. Test it out

Before you send your survey to customers, make sure to test it out.

Ask some colleagues to help you.

This will help ensure that the survey is working properly and that customers are able to complete it.

6. Send it to the right people

The last thing you want to do is send your survey to the wrong people.

Make sure to target the right people when sending your survey.

7. Follow up

Once you've collected data from your survey, make sure to follow up with customers.

This will help you get more feedback and improve your customer support process.

So there you have it.

A few things to keep in mind when creating a VoC survey.

Really Good VoC Survey Questions — Perfect for new products, CX, and marketing

When it comes to voice of the customer (VoC), you're looking for feedback about your product, service, or company from customers.

It's one of the most important aspects of customer experience management.

You can use VoC data to improve customer support, marketing efforts, and even new product development.

The best way to get started is by asking the right questions.

I've got some suggestions for you.

1. How satisfied are you with our product/service?

This is a great question to start with.

It will help you measure overall satisfaction with your product or service.

2. How likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend or family member?

This is another question that will help you measure customer loyalty.

3. What do you like best about our product/service?

Asking customers what they like best about your product or service can help you improve those aspects.

4. What's one thing you would change to improve our product/service?

On the other hand, asking customers what they dislike most about your product or service can help you improve those aspects.

5. Was our customer support helpful?

This question will help you measure how helpful customer support is.

6. How would you rate the process of buying/using our product?

This question will help you measure how easy it is to buy and use your product.

7. How do we compare to our competitors?

Comparing yourself to competitors is a great way to measure how you're doing.

8. What other products/services are you using?

Getting a sense of what other products or services customers are using can help you figure out where you stand in the market.

9. Would you like to see more/less of this type of product from us?

Asking customers if they want more or less of a certain type of product can help you determine whether it's meeting customer needs.

10. Did we miss the mark completely?

Finally, asking customers if you missed the mark completely can help you identify areas where you need to improve.

There you have it.

A few questions to get you started with VoC.

Make sure to tailor them to your specific needs.

And don't forget to follow up with customers!

A Note On VoC Tools And Solutions

Alright. We're almost there.

Here's the deal with tools and solutions to help you with VoC analysis.

It's the sheer amount of data you'll have to process. It's a lot. Tools and solutions can help you automate some of the analysis and make it easier to manage.

What should you look for in a tool?

  1. The ability to collect data from surveys, social media, and customer support channels.
  2. The ability to analyze data in real time with Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning.
  3. The ability to create reports and dashboards.
  4. The ability to share results with team members.
  5. The ability to integrate with other tools you're using.

There are a lot of great options out there, but make sure to do your research before you decide on one.

Conclusion

Voice of the customer (VoC) is a critical part of customer experience management.

I hope this guide gave you a few ideas on how to get started with VoC.

Remember, the key is to ask the right questions and to follow up with customers.

At the end of the day, it's all about understanding customer needs and wants. Sometimes even before they realize it.

Tools and solutions can help make this process easier, but nothing replaces human interaction.

And even if it doesn't go perfect, always remember any customer feedback is essential to improving your product or service.

Your customers will appreciate that you invested in asking them and welcoming them into being part of the solution.

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